Transforming Tacit Knowledge into Organizational Gold: The Magic of Micro-Learning

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In a world where the only constant is change, the secret sauce for staying ahead in the business game is knowledge. That’s right, folks, we’re not just talking about any knowledge, but the kind that sparks continuous innovation and transforms companies into knowledge-creating powerhouses. But here’s the kicker: despite all the buzz about leveraging “brainpower” and “intellectual capital,” cracking the code of a knowledge-creating company seems as elusive as finding a needle in a haystack.

The journey from individual insights to organizational wisdom is a fascinating tale, best illustrated by the story of Ikuko Tanaka and her bread-making breakthrough at Matsushita. Tanaka’s quest to perfect the art of bread-making led her from the tacit, almost magical kneading techniques of a master baker to explicit knowledge that revolutionized a kitchen appliance. This story isn’t just about making bread; it’s a masterclass in converting personal know-how into something the whole organization can feast on.


So, how do we bottle this secret sauce and serve it up across the organization? Enter the stage: MicroLearning. This isn’t just about making learning bite-sized; it’s about transforming elusive tacit knowledge into explicit, shareable, and actionable insights.

Socialization: Sharing the Secret Sauce

Imagine learning the secret kneading technique not through a manual but by actually feeling the dough under the guidance of a master baker. That’s microlearning in action: observing, imitating, and practicing in small, manageable chunks. It’s the art of turning the “I just do it this way” into a shared experience, making it easier for others to soak up the knowledge without the overwhelming banquet of information.

Articulation: From "Just Doing" to "Teaching"

Now, consider the challenge of articulating that indescribable feeling of when the dough is just right. Microlearning helps here by encouraging the creation of mini lessons or insights that attempt to put into words or visuals what was once just a feeling or an intuition. It’s about breaking down the barrier between “I can’t explain it” and “Here’s how I think about it.”

Combination: The Recipe Book of Innovation

Once we start articulating these wisdom nuggets, we can combine them into a richer knowledge repository. Think of it as creating a recipe book from all those secret ingredients scattered around the organization. Microlearning facilitates this by allowing different pieces of tacit knowledge to be pieced together, tested, and refined in a collaborative, iterative process.

Internalization: The New Second Nature

And the final magic trick? Turning that explicit knowledge back into tacit understanding across the organization. Through microlearning, employees engage with these insights hands-on, applying them in various contexts, which eventually becomes part of their own skillset—essentially learning by doing but in focused, digestible segments.

The Micro-Learning Mixer

The beauty of microlearning is that it doesn’t require a grandiose setup. It thrives on the principles of simplicity, engagement, and repetition. It can be as informal as a weekly “hack” shared via email, a short video demonstrating a new technique, or a quick interactive module on the company’s learning platform. The key is to keep it fun, relevant, and easy to digest.

From Chaos to Concept: The Organizational Cookbook

Embracing microlearning to transform tacit knowledge into explicit wisdom is akin to writing a communal cookbook for success. It’s about recognizing the value in every employee’s experiences and insights and giving them the tools and platforms to share their secret ingredients. By doing so, organizations can foster a culture of continuous learning and innovation, where knowledge is not just stored but lived and breathed daily.

So, let’s raise our glasses (or our bread slices) to the transformative power of microlearning in demystifying the knowledge-creating company. Here’s to turning individual insights into organizational wisdom, one micro lesson at a time. Cheers to innovating, learning, and, most importantly, sharing the knowledge feast!


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